The business end
The business end

With my fridge overflowing with goat’s milk I could put it off no longer so yesterday to try to clear some space I decided to make yoghurt.

I really must order some cultures and rennet to make some soft cheese as the one I make with lemon or vinegar is not the creamy stuff I imagine when I think of goat’s cheese.  In the meantime I don’t need anything special to make yoghurt, except yoghurt itself and I happened to have one I made earlier.

Scalding the milk
Scalding the milk

I could also do with a decent dairy thermometer as the well used jam one I have, has all the important numbers rubbed off so a fair bit of guess work is involved.

We have 2 Toggenburg goats, Anastasia and Belinda.  Belinda gave birth to 2 kids earlier this year and now that they and the calf are weaned all the milk is for our use.  It took us a while to acclimatise to goat’s milk but now we are fine with it.  Twice a day every day she is hand milked, no days off for good behaviour for either of us!  We get about a litre a day which is far too much for the two of us, even though we have it on porridge or bran flakes, in tea and I use it to make bread, but luckily the dogs go mad for it.

To make yoghurt, I start by adding 4tlbs of dried milk powder to 2.272 litres (4 pints) of goat’s milk, this produces a slightly thicker yoghurt.  Then I scald the milk which means bringing it up to a temperature of 85˚C (185˚F).

Pots of yoghurt in their bath
Pots of yoghurt in their bath

Once it reaches (approximately in my case) the right temperature I stand it in a bowl of cold water and cool it down to 50˚C (122˚ F).  At this point, 1 cup of  yogurt is stirred into the milk and then the liquid is poured into sterilised recycled jars.  This fills about 5½ 500g jars.

The jars are placed in a water bath with the water at approx 50˚C (122˚F).

Covering them with tea towels I leave them to stand on the rack above the Rayburn where it’s always warm, for several hours, topping up the hot water from time to time, until the milky liquid begins to solidify into yoghurt.

The yoghurt is not as thick and creamy as some you buy today but at least it isn’t stuffed full of flavourings, or heaven forbid, chocolate!  It tastes good and of course you can use it in your cooking or add any fresh fruit.  I have found that it keeps several weeks in the fridge and you when you get to the last jar you can use it to start your next batch.

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